The Dwarves

               Dwarves are short, sturdy, and brawny. They average 1 1/2 feet shorter than a Human of equivalent ST, but weigh 100 pounds more than that same Human. Dwarvish features are broad and coarse, and their bodies are thickly muscled. Their legs are short, bu their heads and torsos are nearly the size of a human. Their hair is thick and can be any color found in humanity, though it usually turns gray or silver in midlife (baldness is also common). All male Dwarves wear thick, full beards which they like to grow down below their waists. They wear practical, sturdy clothing, and are often in armor when above ground.

Psychology

Created to delve stone as slaves, they had the essence of the mountain roots and could not be bent to the demon's will.

- Ptah proclaiming the dwarves when they were presented to the Gods.

               The Dwarves were created by the demons to be their miners of stone. They desired the riches that lie at the roots of the world and set the dwarves to that task. But in creating the dwarves they infused them with the essences of stone, but in doing so they found they could not bend them to their will.

               Because of this Dwarves feel most at home underground in deep mines and caverns. Their homes are magnificent works of art hewn from the living rock. They are a private and moody race, not given to display around strangers. Dwarves glory in work, and will labor for days without rest at opening a new shaft, crafting a new artifact or decorating a new hall.

               Although regarded by other races as dour and cheerless, the Dwarves can be merry -- frequently their halls ring with song and laughter. They are reserved among outsiders, however, and outsiders seldom see the outgoing side of their personality.

               Dwarves are the preeminent craftsmen of the Majestic Wilderlands -- only the Elves can match them and they are not so prolific. They are also superb merchants and tough bargainers. Dwarven quality cost dearly, but the buyer knows he is getting the best. Though Dwarves are, as a race, both greed and miserly, they rarely resort to outright theft or swindling.

               Dwarves regard their homes and families as sacred, and shield them from the sight of others. Few Dwarven woman are ever seen above ground. Contrary to human myth, Dwarven women are not bearded. But when they travel above ground they often are disguised and wear false beards of remarkable realism.               

               Dwarves marry only once, and for life. The woman chooses her mate -- if her chosen won't or can't have her. She will not choose another. Dwarvish union produce from one to four children, multiple births are rare.

 

Religion

               They honor the High Lord Ptah as their liberator. They call Ptah the Soul Forger and believe it was he would give them the sturdiness needed to resist the Demons.  

History

               In the beginning, the One created two races, the Elves and the Humans. The first was to be the glory of the world and the second to be the inheritors of the world. He sent the Lords to be teachers to the two races. Chief among the Lords was Ptah, the first comer and the forger of the world.

               Some of the gods and the elves grew jealous of humanity and revolted against the will of the One. They overthrew the gods and became master of creation. For their act of rebellion they were named Demon. The surviving Lords fled and build places of hiding. There they gather the remaining Elves and Humans that escaped the Demons.

               They enslaved humanity and tried to bend them to their will. But when they proved resistant. They began to use their arts to twist humanity into new forms. One of their creations was a race designed to work the deep mines to gain the treasures that lie at the roots of the mountains.

               While the Dwarves were being created Ptah sneaked into the Demons place of creation. He walked up to the sleeping forms of the Dwarves and by each he whispered these words. 

By the power of the One, I give to thee the strength of the roots of the world. You will endure as long as the world endures. Only a power greater than the mountains themselves will ever be able to break you.

                When the Dwarves awoke the Demon set them to the task of delving the mountains for them. They made secret tunnels and escaped. They came to the Lord's hiding places and pledged to aid them in freeing the world from the Demons. They took Ptah as their patron and worked in his service.

               For many long years the Dwarves aided the Lords in overthrowing the Demons. Finally the remaining Demons made their stand at the island of Tiranog. Ptah and the other surviving Lords made the nine Crystals of Power and the Chromatic Crystal that was their master. The Lord used the crystals to imprison the Demons on Tiranog forever separating them from the world. Ptah had the Dwarves create nine towers of stone around Tiranog. One the top of each tower was set one of the nine crystals that formed the barrier around Tiranog.

               After the Uttermost Wars, the Wilderlands were devastated and destroyed. Those of the children races that were freed from slavery reverted to barbarism. Those who served in the armies of the Lords tried to stem the rising tide of barbarism, but they were soon deluged and lost their civilization and only retained the memories of their Lord or Lady. Only those of the children races that resided in the safe-holds established by the Lords retained any of the pre-war civilization. Led by the Loyal Elves they founded the first civilization to rise after the Uttermost War, on the banks of the Greatflood river in the north. Known as the Founder's Empire they formed a society that was in peace for over two thousand years.

The Founders Empire respected all the Gods and gave special reverence to Ptah as the creator, but of all the Gods they loved Silvanus the most and held the greatest festivals in honor of him. Silvanus convinced Ptah of the good the Empire was doing and of the leadership the Elves were giving. Ptah granted to Silvanos the King of the Elves, First Lord of the Empire; guardianship of the Crystal of the Chromatic Flame. The Crystal of the Chromatic Flame was the master crystal controlled the other nine imprisoning the demons on Tiranog.

After two thousand years, the Orcs, expanding from their home on the Padizan Peninsula, starting raiding the southern borders of the Empire. Mobilizing and using arms not touched for hundreds of years, the elves, halflings, gnomes, humans, and dwarves of the Empire fought the orcs valiantly.

But the orcs steadily increased their raid and migrated to the north and west of the Empire. The Empire was besieged on all sides save the east, which was the sea. Of all the races, the dwarves did the best against the orcs and had the most successes. The other races, except the elves, began to look to the dwarves for guidance in the Orc Wars. More and more the dwarves gave respect to those who practiced the craft of the war well, and the hammers turned from the making of tools and plowshares to the making of swords.

As the Orc War steadily moved on, friction arose between the Dwarves and Elves; the Dwarves felt the Elves did not do enough for the War One day, Silvanos, First Lord of the Empire, was slain by a orc arrow while leading a raid against the Orcs. Silvanos son, Sithel, became the King of the Elves. Sithel summoned the Founders Council to Alarniel, where the court of Silvanos was held.

At the Council Sithel said:

 We are gathered here, to mourn the loss of my father, Silvanos. In his person he united us with one common bond, the bond of the Empire. Together we have forged a peace of two thousand years and now together we fend off the incursions of the Orcs to keep all of our lands in peace. I hope to serve you as First Lord  as well as my father did and continue the common bond that unites us.

 With a rage, King Kollodorin of Dwarfdwarrow, shouted

 Hold ELF! Who made you First Lord? Silvanos was a fine First Lord, I will be the first one to admit that. But do we need a Elf to lord again, in these trying times? Nay, I offer myself as First Lord, together this Empire can destroy the orcs once and for all!

 With that, the council lapsed into bickering and arguing for hours. Neither Sithel or Kollodorin could come to an agreement and with the council evenly divided no decision could be made. After the tenth day of debate, Kollodorin left the Council chamber:

 When the annals of this day, shall be written Sithel. They will mark you as having caused the fall of your father's empire. I will give you a choice, either acknowledge me as First Lord and Keeper of the Crystal, or feel your father's city trod underfoot by my dwarves iron shoes.

 Kollodorin went home and gathered his army and his allies and marched to Alarniel. Sithel and his allies gathered to defend Silvanos's city. The battle the followed was known forevermore as the Battle of Sorrows; Alarniel was destroyed and Kollodorin was victorious and gained the Chromatic Crystal. Sithel swore an oath of vengeance against Kollodorin. The years of sorrow that followed were known as the Crystal wars and all of the lands of the Empire were laded to waste and the borderlands inhabited by orcs.

The Crystal Wars ended when a powerful mage arose and named himself the Dark Lord. He gained the Chromatic Crystal and used to enslave the lands of the former Founder's Empire. Geran Blackoak, a human, was inspired by Silvanus to found the order of Druids. The Druids united all the races including the dwarves against the Dark Lord. When the victory was found. Geran was able to negotiate the Sword Sheath Scroll bringing peace to all the races.

At signing of the Scroll Azadarum, Dwarven king of Ironholm said:

 Before I sign, I want to know about the Crystal, who shall it abide with, Elf, Dwarf, Hobbit, Gnome, or Man?

 And Geran replied,

 As you know Ptah gave it to Silvanos for the wisdom he has shown in joining the races into the Founders Empire. While I do not put myself in Silvanos league; the Lord Silvanus has given to the earth safekeeping of the crystal until the time it is needed.

 With that a great chasm opened before Geran and Geran tossed the crystal into the crack and the chasm closed.

 Now good King Azadarum you may sign the Scroll.

 The Crystal Wars sicken all the races and many desired to move to a new land and start again. Other felt they wanted to be left alone and others wanted to stay and remember past glories. The Dwarves split into four kindreds; The Dwarves of Kighdale, and Kozar remained in the lands around the Greyflood. Dwarves settled in the realm of Kazan near the valley of the Ancients, along other races. Dwarves, with other races, sailed to the Padizan peninsula and built the Majestic Fastness. Then the Dwarves that wanted to be alone sailed to the far south and built the realm of Khinor.

Majestic Fastness

               The Majestic Fastness was settled by the dwarves fleeing the devastation caused by the Crystal Wars. Along with the Elves of Silverwood, The Gnomes of Lightelf, the Halflings of Limerick Shire, and the Humans of Carolyn, Merdon, and Gwynedd. They helped reform a semblance of the Founder's Empire along the NE shores of the Padizan peninsula. The for many centuries the dwarves and their allies were preoccupied in holding off the Orcs that occupied the Padizan.

               Starting in the 18th Century BCCC the Elessarian swept from the west and with their aid the Orcs were driven out. The next twenty centuries were a golden age for the dwarves of the Majestic Fastness. Freed from continual war they labored on might works of craft in their mountain home and among their friends and allies. The Elessarian united under the Overlord of the White Throne and trade grew between the two people. As the centuries wore on, the Elessarians bickered among themselves and their empire collapse. Trade continued but at an reduced rate.

               Then Ghinorian came from the south and settled in colonies throughout the Winedark sea. When the Ghinorian Empire collapsed their colonies had to survive on their own. One of them, Caelam, united the scattered Elessarian kings and formed the Dragon Empire. Trade and prosperity returned to the Majestic Fastness and reached new heights.

               But the Orcs, long forgotten, steadily rebuilt their strength over the centuries. They dwelled in secret valleys and along uninhabited mountain slope and multiply. When a series of years had mild climate their numbers exploded and they expanded outwards. They were aided by Ancelgorn an ancient dragon who desired the gold in the Majestic Fastness. He had the Orcs fall on the Majestic Fastness first and with their combined power they broke into the Majestic Fastness and slaughtered the Dwarves. The Orcs and Ancelgorn and the Orcs continued their rampage devastating both Silverwood and the Dragon Empire. Ancelgorn returned to the Majestic Fastness and made it his abode.

Atrabilorin

             Atrabilorin was the captain of the Royal Guard to King Durin, the last King of the Majestic Fastness. When Ancelgorn and the Orc broke the Fastness, Atrabilorin fled to Caelam. With Anarin VII the Overlord of the Dragon Empire away fighting the Tharians, the city fathers were grateful for any help in fighting the orc hordes. Atrabilorin proved masterful at aiding Caelam against the orcs and soon the city fathers gave command of their defenses to him.

               Anarian VII died in battle in 4153 and his son, Nermar, was crowned Overlord of the Dragon Empire. Nermar came back to Caelam to gather men and supplies but found the city fathers, aided by Atrabilorin, refusing him. Atrabilorin stated that the war with the orcs came first not far off battles in the west. Nermar had his army assualt Caelam and took it, driving out Atrabilorin.

               Nermar gathered his supplies and left leaving his Marshal in charge. Atrabilorin hid in the Mermist Swamp striking back in any way he can. When news came that Nermar was killed in battle and left no heirs, support for the Marshal collapsed. Atrabilorin retook Caelam with little bloodshed and the city fathers proclaimed him Overlord of Caelam.

               Modron attempted to conquer Caelam but could only take Dearthmead. Atrabilorin then defeated the orcs driving them back into Dearthwood. Atrabilorin gathered the remnants of his people and returned to the north. There he founded Thunderhold in the shadow of the Majestic Fastness. Atrabilorin declined the kingship and returned to the City-State. He then defeated a Tharian Army marching from the west in the 1st Hill War. When Dearthmead revolted against the rule of Modron, Atrabilorin gave aid and was able to secure the independence of Dearthmead. Modron recognized Teran as the first Duke of Dearthmead. By 4180 Caelam was known as the City-State of the Invincible Overlord.

               In 4189, Atrabilorin formed the Lordsí Alliance with City-State, Gaehill, Haghill, Dearthmead, and Thunderhold. To cement the alliance he built the Rorystone Road to connect City-State with Thunderhold. The remaining years of Atrabilorinís rule were a time of peace and prosperity.

Thunderhold

               After securing his position in City-State, Atrabilorin gathered the remaining Dwarves and led them back to the Majestic Mountains. There in the Shadow of the Majestic Fastness he built Thunderhold. He refused the Kingship instead returning to City-State to become it's Overlord. The Dwarves at Thunderhold choos Glorin Iron-Helm to be their King. Atrabilorin forged a treaty of friendship and trade between Thunderhold and the City-State. City-State and Thunderhold had a prosperous relationship that continued even after Atrabilorin's death. The Dwarves joined with City-State and other local town into a formal alliance called the Lord's Alliance. The Dwarved aided the Lord's Alliance in it's wars against Modron in the east and the Tharian in the west. The aid of the Dwarves proved decisive in the 3rd Hill War that broke the Tharians of Bulwark.

               But the 3rd Hill War elevated the leader of the Guild of Arcane Lore, Salm-Lorin to prominence. When civil war threatened the Lord's Alliance, Salm-Lorin used that as a pretext to sieze power and become Overlord of City-State. The first person to hold that position since Atrabilorin. Salm-Lorin became known as the Tyrant and attempted to exact heavy tribute from the members of the Lords' Alliance.

               Both the Tharians of Bulwark and Thunderhold refused. They formally allied against Salm-Lorin and promised to send aid if either were attacked by him. Salm-Lorin turned his east toward Modron and did not trouble Thunderhold. The Tharians became preoccupied with the Viridstan as they were attempting to conquered the Tharian clans. When Salm-Lorin was defeated in Modron he returned and began to make preperations to attack Bulwark and Thunderhold.

               Salm-Lorin marched to attack Bulwark. Honoring their treaty they marched to Bulwark's aid and their combined forces defeated Salm-Lorin. The Clan-Chief of Bulwark son, Lucius, led the combined army back to City-State and after a brief siege they captured the City-State. The Salm-Lorin went to the highest tower of the Cryptic Citadel and threw himself off, killing himself, before they could capture him.

               Lucius became Overlord of City-State and renewed the treaties that Atrabilorin made between Thunderhold and City-State. Since then Lucius and his descendents have honored those treaties and trade and prosperity flowed between the two cities. Fifty years ago Glorin Iron-Helm died and his nephew Nodre Iron-Helm became  King of Thunderhold.